The claim is made here:

Tens of millions of pounds of UK aid money have been spent on a programme that has forcibly sterilised Indian women and men [...]

Yet a working paper published by the UK's Department for International Development in 2010 cited the need to fight climate change as one of the key reasons for pressing ahead with such programmes.

Googling has only turned up the Guardian article and no further original sources (all other sources just block-quote the Guardian article)

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    The current title implies a degree of intent at the level of the national government. While that is possible I don't think it's clear this early in the scandal, and is hard to demonstrate in any case. Perhaps something like "Has British foreign aid for combating climate change been used to fund involuntary sterilizations in India?" would be better. May 1, 2012 at 16:38
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    I think the question is clear. In common parlance, any time a government provides funds for something, it is termed that the country is "paying for...". Whether or not that is their intent is not relevant. There's a clear claim in the article that the government is providing funds for sterilization under the auspices of fighting climate change. That is the claim I am skeptical of. May 1, 2012 at 16:42
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    @RussellSteen Your questions asks whether the UK govt intentionally gave India money for forcible sterilization. The article you cite doesn't claim that. Please either edit your question, or find a notable source that does make the claim. May 1, 2012 at 17:55
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    @RussellSteen If you give your friend money, and they use it to buy drugs (without your knowledge) are you "paying for their drugs"? Common parlance would say no. May 1, 2012 at 18:45
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    The phrase "such programmes" is clearly meant to mean programmes that include birth control and population control. There is nothing in the article to indicate that "such programmes" means forced sterlization. The Guradian is alleging that money intended for general birth control programmes (possibly including voluntary sterlization) is being misused, and that participants are being coerced or misled into accepting sterilization. May 2, 2012 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


According to the UK government, £174,500,790 was provide for Reproductive and Child Health Programme Phase II with a start date of 15 December 2006.

Then, according to an India government site, a cash inventive system was set up:

Monetary Benefits (Compensation) after adopting permanent method of sterilization (w.e.f. 1 Nov 07): -

NSV operated beneficiary gets Rs. 1100/- as a cash incentive.

  • Female belonging to SC/ST/BPL category gets Rs. 600/- after abdominal/laparoscopic tubectomy.

  • Female belonging to above poverty line category gets Rs. 250/- cash after tubectomy by ant method.

  • While promoters/motivators (i.e. ANM/MPW/AWW/Gramsevak etc) gets Rs. 200/- & Rs. 150/- as a cash incentive upon promoting a client for vasectomy & tubectomy respectively.

So the program itself doesn't directly force people to be sterilized, but it pays private parties to "motivate" the people to be sterilized.

For example, according to U.S.-U.K. Foreign Aid Tied to India’s Forced Sterilization Campaign:

According to papers filed in the Supreme Court of India last month, the 53 women of low caste were recruited by government “motivators” who took them to a government middle school in Bihar this January. Anay Jumar Chowdhary, a government doctor, performed sterilizing procedures on the women, who were laid out on school desks and anaesthetized by untrained staff. He worked at night by the light of a flashlight and a single generator light bulb.

“I tell you they treat them not as human beings, but as cattle or goats. They just cut and take out veins. They were bleeding profusely. It is butchery,” said Devika Biswas, a health-rights activist in Bihar with the Human Rights Law Network, who filed the petition in court along with videotaped evidence of the camp and affidavits from the women’s families.

“All of them are forced,” Biswas told the Register. “Generally, the people in the village are very simple. They are very poor. Some of them married at the age of 12 or 13. They do not know what it means. They are told it will be good for them. They are not told it will make them permanently unable to bear children. No risks are explained to them.”

Devika Biswas v. Union of India & Ors.[WP (C) 95/2012], Hon’ble Supreme Court of India adds:

A fact-finding in Rajasthan’s Bundi district found that 42% of the women were not counseled about the permanency of the operation


The Petition also brings to light the instances of illegal sterilisation in Orissa where 6% of the physically disabled and 8% of the mentally challenged women were forcefully sterilised.

A 16 September 2016 decision by the Supreme Court of India states:

unrealistic targets have been set for sterilization procedures with the result that
non-consensual and forced sterilizations are taking place

Additionally, articles like The uterus snatchers of Andhra explain how women were tricked into having their uteruses removed.

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    So what's the answer then? I would say NO since the program is not forcing anyone. Any acts of trickery are malpractice aiming to enrich the doctors performing the procedures and thus illegal. I very much doubt that the British or Indian governments are encouraging this criminal behavior.
    – ventsyv
    Dec 22, 2016 at 15:00
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    @ventsyv I agree, the program doesn't do the forcing, but the cash incentive system is ill-conceived and provides a motivation for forcing by others
    – DavePhD
    Dec 22, 2016 at 15:08
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    @ventsyv Is it really that important to reduce answers to a simple yes or no? Is it necessary that questions be taken literally, or can we interpret "is it true that X?" as "what is the truth behind X?".
    – IMSoP
    Dec 22, 2016 at 16:11
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    @ventsyv You would say "NO", and I would say "Obviously yes". The details of the answer offer sufficient information to answer the question, but apparently too little to make a case for yes/no that everyone can agree with. As such, not explicitly stating yes or no seems to be the best option.
    – Peter
    Dec 22, 2016 at 16:43
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    @JanDoggen if you look at the source of the claim, it isn't really much about climate change in the first place. It just says "a working paper published by the UK's Department for International Development in 2010 cited the need to fight climate change as one of the key reasons for pressing ahead with such programmes"
    – DavePhD
    Dec 22, 2016 at 16:43

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